CIEH and partners celebrate National Apprenticeship Week

07 February 2023, Lucy Salvage

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), The Institute of Licensing (IoL), and Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by encouraging employers to explore the opportunity of apprentices.

This year, National Apprenticeship Week will run from 6 - 12 February with the theme of Skills for Life, reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals develop the skills and knowledge needed for a rewarding career while helping businesses develop a talented and diverse workforce that is equipped with skills for the future.

CIEH, IoL, and CTSI are working together to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to both individuals and businesses, and the ways in which apprenticeships can improve diversity, sustainability, and productivity for organisations.

Employment challenges

For local authorities, recruiting a skilled workforce within their environmental health teams is a challenge. However, along with our partners, we know that apprenticeships can be the perfect solution to this problem. As well as offering talented individuals the opportunity to gain real-life experience and on-the-job training while earning a salary, they give businesses a cost-effective way to nurture new and enthusiastic talent. It has been found that 90% of apprentices stay in their place of work after completing their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships in environmental health

The Environmental Health Practitioner BSc Apprenticeship (currently only available in England) lasts for four years, and on completion, the apprentice will gain a degree-level qualification and the Environmental Health apprenticeship certificate from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Anyone living in England can become an environmental health apprentice, subject to them being employed in a role that will enable them to engage in work that is relevant to developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to operate as an EHP.

Employers and universities will determine their own entry requirements, which typically will be three A-levels or equivalent. As with an accredited degree, completion of the apprenticeship will also allow access to CIEH Professional Registration pathways to become a Registered EHP, and over time, a Chartered EHP.

This apprenticeship enables employers to shape future practitioners as they progress through their training, while also having additional staff to undertake existing work. For those entering the profession, it is much more accessible for those unable to afford university fees. The academic fees are covered by government funding, while apprentices are also paid a salary by their employer for the duration of their apprenticeship.

Jon Buttolph, CIEH Associate Director of Membership & Professional Development said:

“We know local authorities are facing recruitment challenges and we believe apprenticeships play an important role in future environmental health workforce planning and can help employers build a sustainable team. This is why we are encouraging employers to look at our toolkit of resources to help them set up an apprenticeship.”

Samantha Barnett, Environmental Health BSc Apprentice, Mid Devon District Devon Council said:

“I spotted an advert in Environmental Health News (EHN) for the apprenticeship degree and found out my employer was happy to support me on the course.

“I am now in my second year of study and love how much more confident I am at doing my job. I work four days a week and attend lectures once a week at the University Centre in Weston, or sometimes I join the lectures online. The flexibility is great having the option to study from home, and my manager is so supportive.”

RCO apprenticeship

For individuals looking to pursue a career within the licensing profession, the Regulatory Compliance Officer (RCO) apprenticeship offers a clear route. The RCO is an approved standard under the apprenticeship framework allowing England-based employers to draw in the apprenticeship levy to fund training and endpoint assessment.

Babington has been successfully delivering the Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprenticeship for four years now, with 150 new starters expected to join in 2023.

Ian Simpson, Specialist Trainer or Regulatory Compliance at Babington, says:

“Our apprentices vary in age from 19 to mid-50s. We see employers recruiting new younger staff and also retraining older workers and giving them new career opportunities too. One recent trend is an increase in the ethnic diversity of apprentices, with those identifying as in an ethnic minority group growing from 11% to 22%.

“As with all apprenticeships, the RCO focuses heavily on developing transferable skills. RCO apprentices develop their competence to risk assess, inspect, investigate and advise. These are great ‘skills for life’ and enable them to successfully move between services and employer, if they so wish.”

Apprenticeships in Licensing

The Institute of Licensing is starting work to develop a specialist licensing apprenticeship to support licensing practitioners across the country. This will be a fantastic development for the IoL and will support its members in encouraging new routes into licensing careers.

Sue Nelson, Executive Officer at IoL said:

“The IoL is committed to developing a specialist licensing apprenticeship to support career development in licensing and to encourage new entrants into the profession. We aim to highlight licensing as a vibrant and rewarding profession for young people to embark on as a positive career choice”.

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